On April 3rd, 2012, our first community meeting on “Parkdale Community Land Trust” brought together a wide range of participants: Parkdale residents, academic, city staff, community advocates, researchers and other passionate individuals. The meeting was to ‘kick start’ a community dialogue to envision, discuss and plan an alternative strategy and possibilities for action.
The meeting began with introduction from PARC’s Executive Director, Victor Willis. Victor put the event in a broader context of ongoing community planning efforts in Parkdale, particularly addressing food insecurity.
Photo 1: A wide range of participants interested in a possibility of CLT
After the exciting introductory remarks, Brendon Goodmurphy gave a presentation to explain why CLT can be an effective response to challenges facing Parkdale – lack of affordable housing, community space and supports for small business – and how “community ownership of land” can enhance community development efforts.
Photo 2: Susannah presenting interesting CLT cases from other cities
This was followed by Susannah Bunce, Assistant Professor at University of Torontoresearching community land trusts both in Canada and internationally. She, with her research assistant, presented different cases from other cities (from Calgary, Boston, and London UK). Her comparative research findings provided us with the opportunity to think of implications and possible challenges in establishing a community land trust in Parkdale.
These two presentations provided a broader context in considering a possibility of CLT in Parkdale. This was followed by the community discussion facilitated by Kathy Allan to discuss how we want to leverage a CLT mechanism to address challenges in Parkdale while clarifying some of the questions participants came up with.
Photo 3: Some ideas generated through the conversations
We will soon follow up with participants in the event and those who wanted to participate but could not make it. We are also hoping to hold another community meeting soon, while we are working to identify a couple of models appropriate to community land trust in Parkdale. Community land trust take different models in practice, particularly in terms of governance structure. What governance models would be suitable for Parkdale? Who should be involved? What expertise and resources do we need? These would be the focus of our next meeting.
The Parkdale People’s Economy Project is an ongoing collaboration among various community organizations to build a resilient local economy that provides access to affordable housing, healthy food and good jobs in Parkdale, Toronto.